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Fuel poverty campaigners reveal 10 significant failures with government's energy plans

FUEL poverty campaigners revealed yesterday 10 significant failures in the government plans to address the escalating energy costs this winter.

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and other cabinet ministers, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition has called for a meeting to discuss operational problems with the latest government measure.

Among the concerns highlighted by the group of more than 60 charities, trade unions, social enterprises, local government representatives and other campaigners is the failure of proposals to help those in fuel poverty in the long term.

The group said it would also fail to support those on pre-payment meters, off-gas, on heat networks and not on electricity meters.

It also raised concerns on how the financial support may impact the care charges disabled, elderly and vulnerable people are assessed on.

Retired former community worker Anne Vivian-Smith said: “The lack of urgency from the government is terrifying.

“Special tariffs for disabled customers who have unavoidably high energy use need to be created now.

“Disability benefits have not increased, yet disabled people have very few ways to economise without cutting something essential like food or care.

“Heating or eating isn’t a slogan, it’s reality, it’s now and we need help.”

Ofgem has predicted that the winter 2022/23 price cap on energy bills will be £2,800, but independent groups have warned this could be higher.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition is calling for a wider reform to the energy market, warning that further short-term financial support for people in fuel poverty will be needed to mitigate any further increases in the price cap and support for those already suffering.

The coalition’s Simon Francis said: “As well as operational concerns about the existing government support, ministers must also realise that the measures will only seek to prevent additional homes entering fuel poverty and help to stop many of those in fuel poverty becoming utterly destitute.

“It will not fundamentally improve the situation of the six million-plus households already in fuel poverty.

“We would urge the government to make further statements to set out additional financial support for people in fuel poverty this winter, announce co-ordinated action to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and ensure we have a secure, renewable-led, domestic energy supply.”


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